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Monday, October 31, 2011

Muggle Monday (18): Pottermore Review

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

This week, I'm posting my review, the pros and cons, of Pottermore, the interactive online reading experience.

Let's start with the good then, shall we?


1. The new exclusive content written by J.K. Rowling. This is by far the best part of the site. Jo has written 18,000 words of new and fascinating information, all written with her signature wit and whimsy. Though I am pretty disappointed that it seems as though we will never get a comprehensive, printed encyclopedia, I am happy that this information is being made available for free online.

2. Getting Sorted. There are a ton of fan created sorting quizzes, but this is the first that Jo has created herself. It's pretty cool to find out officially what house I would be sorted into after years of speculation (Hufflepuff! No surprise there). I am a bit dubious as to the legitimacy of the quiz though... it seems suspicious that there would be an almost even number of students in each house (at the moment, approximately 165,000 students across the board). What are the chances?

3. Getting a Wand. This is another fun quiz that you take to find the best wand for you. Jo has written up descriptions of the qualities of each wand core and every wand wood that is available. Incredibly interesting. The descriptions of the personalities of my core (Unicorn Hair) and my wood (Rowan) sound very much like me, which is cool.


1. There is no replay value. And I know a lot of people agree with me on this. Once you've completed all the chapters, you're done, and there's not much to keep you coming back afterwards or reviewing the chapters again. It was exciting going through it all the first time, but I won't be returning to Pottermore until Chamber of Secrets is released.

2. I think I'm too old for this. This is very surprising to me because I have a pretty immature personality for someone my age. I'm usually very much into the sort of games that are available on Pottermore. If Pottermore had been released years ago, I probably would have been very much into brewing potions and wand duelling, but I think I've reached my limit now. I'm a proud Hufflepuff, don't get me wrong, but I just don't care about earning house points. And I especially have no interest in waiting 80 minutes for my friggin potion to finish brewing!

3. No music or sound effects. The new pictures created to represent each chapter are truly gorgeous but there is a noticeable lack of any sound. I think it would have added a bit to the experience.

Overall, I recommend Pottermore to people who are more than just casual Harry Potter fans, as you would probably have no interest in getting sorted and getting a wand otherwise. If you are a big Harry Potter fan, I do recommend going through each chapter (or "moment" as they are called) at least once just so you can read all the amazing new tidbits from Jo. You can probably get through the entire site in about 4 hours. You can try your hand at potion brewing and wand duelling a few times and I'm sure that'll satisfy you.

So yeah, pretty disappointed. I just want my encyclopedia!! I can't believe Twilight got its encyclopedia before HP. Like I said, I won't be returning to Pottermore in any great capacity until Chamber of Secrets is released, but if you want to add me as a friend, my username is FlightOwl209 (Also, let me know in the comments what your username is if you're sending a friend request or else I won't know who you are!).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist #3) by Rick Yancey

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: September 13, 2011
Pages: 558
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 Stars

When Dr. Warthrop goes hunting the "Holy Grail of Monstrumology" with his eager new assistant, Arkwright, he leaves Will Henry in New York. Finally, Will can enjoy something that always seemed out of reach: a normal life with a real family. But part of Will can't let go of Dr. Warthrop, and when Arkwright returns claiming that the doctor is dead, Will is devastated--and not convinced. Determined to discover the truth, Will travels to London, knowing that if he succeeds, he will be plunging into depths of horror worse than anything he has experienced so far. His journey will take him to Socotra, the Isle of Blood, where human beings are used to make nests and blood rains from the sky--and will put Will Henry's loyalty to the ultimate test.

In short: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey supplies yet another terrifying monster, but most importantly, provides the reader with thoughtful and developed characterization.
Will Henry and the Monstrumologist are back and this time the monster they are hunting is the Typhoeus magnificum, the father of all monsters. Infection caused by the magnificum results in zombie-like humans, whose skin rots and grows protruberances, and whose appetite becomes insatiable, often leading the individual to consume their own bodies if no human meal is in reach. It is a terrifying and disgusting monster - and I would expect no less from Rick Yancey, who in the past has brought us the likes of the Anthropophagus and the Wendigo.

As well done as the horror aspect and the monsters are in The Monstrumologist Series, the real life aspect and the characters are truly what makes these books, which I fear is not something I've sufficiently gotten across in my previous reviews for this series. After all, if all these books entailed were monsters and gore, they really wouldn't have very much substance at all and I would have no interest in reading them. As it is, the character development in The Isle of Blood was the best part of the novel, with both Will Henry and the Monstrumologist evolving significantly, yet naturally.

One thing that I love about this series are the cameos of real life historical figures. Jack the Ripper and Bram Stoker have significant roles in The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo, respectively. In The Isle of Blood, Jack the Ripper is back in all his horrible and cruel glory. Arthur Conan Doyle also takes part in the story during a critical scene. It's super fun to see the many ways Rick Yancey comes up with to somehow integrate these cameos into the story.

Though I did have some minor problems with the pacing, The Isle of Blood is a magnificent addition to the Monstrumologist Series. I know I mention it every time I write a review for this series, but they really are some of the best written books I've ever read. The imagery created with Rick Yancey's words  is achingly beautiful. Add to that the fact that the writing just seems to get even better - more poetic - with each book, if that is even possible. I'm already looking forward to the newly announced fourth book in the series!

Previously, My Reviews for The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo.

Other Review:
aleeza reads and writes

Author Links:

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge

Monday, October 24, 2011

Clockwork Prince ARC Giveaway

I was extremely fortunate to have received an ARC of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare for review given how few ARCs of this book were created. But I couldn't possibly keep it all to myself when it seems like everyone I know wants to get their hands on it. Also, I obviously need to own a finished copy of the book to have on my shelf. Thus, a giveaway.

The only requirement of this giveaway is that you must be a book reviewer - either on your own blog or on a book review site like Goodreads. This is because I would hope this ARC to be read and reviewed by the winner before Clockwork Prince's publication on December 6, 2011 (and maybe even passed on to another reviewer afterwards).

Good luck!

1. To enter, fill out the form below
2. You must be a book reviewer to enter this giveaway
3. Open Worldwide
4. Ends November 6, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST
5. Entrants must be at least 13 years old.
6. The winner will be announced on the blog and have 48 hours to send me an email with their address.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's time to announce the winner for my giveaway of any book from The Book Depository worth up to $15 CAD! There were a total of 57 old followers who entered. Thanks for the well wishes everyone! And the winner, according to random.org, is:

Congrats Lulu!! Please email me with your address and choice of book (either an old release or preorder) within the next 48 hours at ayleejaine(at)gmail(dot)com.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren (and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie) to showcase any books that I have received for review, bought, borrowed, or won to read.

It's been a month and a half since I've done an In My Mailbox so let's get right to it:

For Review from Simon & Schuster Canada

I almost brought the house down with my screaming when I got this in the mail. SO EXCITED. I hope I can get to it soon! Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada!!

Belated Birthday Gifts

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

My birthday was over two months ago (it's the day after Harry and Jo's) but these were preorders that I had to wait to get. I read and loved Delirium at the beginning of this year from Netgalley; I needed my own copy. I'm reading The Isle of Blood now and loving it! This series is sooo good; I can't say enough good things. I have yet to read the Chaos Walking trilogy but now that I own all three, I hope to get to read them back-to-back.

Bought on Sale / from Goodwill

The Bartaemius Trilogy Boxset by Jonathan Stroud
Uglies (Uglies #1) and Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld

I got The Bartaemius Trilogy Boxset from the Sales rack at Chapters for crazy cheap. I've heard good things so I'm looking forward to reading it! And I picked up some used copies of Uglies, Pretties, Shadowland, and Reunion from Goodwill (also cheap, natch). Yes, I know I'm missing the second book in The Mediator series but unfortunately, they only had books 1 and 3.

I decided that it's okay to break my book buying ban to purchase these super cheap books. I mean, I figure it's my decision so it's okay to make up rules as I go along, right?


Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry (Won from A Tapestry of Words)
Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things #1) by Anna Godberson (Free ebook from Amazon)

Thank you so much to Danya from A Tapestry of Words for sending me Rot & Ruin! I received the second book in the trilogy, Dust & Decay, for review so I look forward to starting the trilogy soon as I've heard amazing things!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Canadian Thanksgiving Giveaway

So Canadian Thanksgiving is this Monday, October 10 and it got me thinking how grateful I am for everyone's support over these months that I've been blogging. I wish I could adequately state how much it really means to me, but I really don't think I could ever come close to truly expressing it. Sometimes it's just easier with gifts.

This giveaway will be for old followers only (people who were followers prior to the announcement of this giveaway). One old follower will win...

Any Book (Old or Preorder) worth up to $15 CAD at The Book Depository!

1. To enter, leave a comment
2. You must be an Old GFC Follower to enter. Alternately, if you don't follow me through Google Friend Connect but are an Old RSS Follower, then that's cool too - just let me know in your comment.
3. Open Internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you
4. Ends October 10 at 11:59 PM EST
5. Entrants must be at least 13 years old
6. The winner will be announced on the blog and will have 48 hours to send me an email with their address.

Good luck and thank you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa T. Bergren

Publisher: David C. Cook
Published: February 1, 2011
Pages: 352
Source: Free ebook from Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!

American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

In short: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren is entertainment at its best - complete with non-stop action and swoon-worthy boys.
I participated in a month long Read-Along for Waterfall in which I got to share in my reading experience of Waterfall with a whole bunch of lovely book bloggers. It was excellent fun but also terribly hard to stay within the allotted chapters for each week. Why? Because Waterfall is just so darn fast paced and exciting; I was never even remotely bored at any point. Lisa T. Bergren keeps the action coming page after page. Waterfall is entertainment at its best.

And how could you not be entertained by the events that take place in Waterfall? Getting mistaken for a lady in a past time period, meeting some swoon-worthy and gallant boys men and falling in love with one of them, getting to impart your modern knowledge and save a life, getting to wear pretty dresses and go to balls, taking part in the action even though you're a lady - this is all stuff of escapist fantasies. It was like Lisa T. Bergren knew exactly what her audience was looking for in a dream book and then delivered exactly that and more.

Gabi makes for a feisty and determined heroine, though I did find that she was a little too good to be true as a character. It seems awfully convenient to me that she would be fluent in Italian, basic in Latin and French, have experience in riding bareback, have a knowledge of various herbs and remedies, and be an experienced fencer (and somehow have this experience translate into wielding an extremely heavy broadsword). I guess I just would've liked to have seen Gabi struggle a bit more with her new and strange surroundings - not that I hate her or anything. I just think that would be more realistic.

I also think the pacing was a bit too fast at times (because I'm weird like that); I would've liked to have read a bit more detail about the plan that was put into place to save Gabi's sister, for instance, because I found it a bit hard to follow. But besides these minor quibbles, I had tons of fun reading Waterfall and I can't imagine a person not enjoying themselves while reading it either. I can't wait to check out the sequels, Cascade and Torrent, which also came out this year!

Other Reviews:
Logan E. Turner
Poetry to Prose
Small Review

Author Links:

*Read as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge
*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's time to announce the winner of my Dark Mirror and Choker giveaway! There were a total of 113 people who entered and 263 entries. And the winner, according to random.org, is:

Okay, I swear I didn't rig this. I don't know whether to congratulate you or to apologize, Missie. This is totes karma for the time you tried to force a book you disliked onto me. If you are still interested in taking these books off my hands, then shoot me an email with your address at ayleejaine(at)gmail(dot)com. I wholeheartedly hope you enjoy these books more than I did.